Thursday, March 6, 2014
Behind The Scoreboard
In pursuit of gold ball
For the last two weeks you have been reading about individuals and teams seeking some golden reward for athletic endeavors. This, of course, was in the XXII Winter Olympics. The quest for the golden prize has moved closer to home and, specifically, one could say in our own backyard.
Each year since the Mississippi High School Activities Association has been giving out the golden orbs to the best of the best in basketball competitions, teams have vied for the honor of collecting that first golden ball and then to see how many they could claim over a period of time. In Mississippi and the high school basketball world, boys or girls, there is not a more coveted prize. The attainment of that golden orb has made the fortunes of coaches and players alike.
Probably not a lot of basketball fans are aware of this (or even consider it a priority) but records of basketball seasons have been kept in Mississippi since 1922 for boys and 1930 for girls. There have been some evolutionary changes since those days. The classification system under which we operate was instituted in 1985. It meant that the divisions were designated from 1A through 5A (6A division wasn’t added until 2010).
The teams in Marshall County have been well represented during the progressive years. And they have proven that they can compete with the best of the best. To give you some “for instances,” the Holly High Hawks made their first appearance in the Big House during the ’80s under head coach Donnal Ash. They were put out in the first round and didn’t return until 2004 when they met and defeated the Byhalia Indians (70-66). They went back two consecutive years, losing the “three-peat” try to Yazoo County in the lowest scoring contest in the modern era (24-22).
Byhalia made its first appearance in 1999, losing a high-scoring affair (105-87) to Raymond. As mentioned above, they went back in 2004 and will return next week for another chance at the gold ball.
Of course, we are all aware that the ladies of H.W. Byers have been to “The Big House” more times than they can probably remember. Head coach Jason Thompson has won crowns in two different divisions (2A and 1A) and will now vie for a third title in 2A.
The Potts Camp girls, who went to Jackson last year, almost made it back again in 2014.
Marshall Academy is a perennial performer (both boys and girls) in the post-season wars and this year went deep into the playoffs again.
Perhaps most noteworthy because of the history-making uniqueness, the Holly High Lady Hawks and the Byhalia Indians have traveled far with relatively new coaches.
Sylvester Kilgore, in his second year as head coach of the Lady Hawks, went farther than anyone has gone before, falling one game shy of making it to Mississippi Coliseum.
Head coach of the Byhalia Indians, James Sales, in his first season, has poised the Indians for a run at greatness.
We certainly applaud these persons, both coaches and players, for their hard work and achievements in the basketball world at the secondary level and wish them well and much more success in the seasons to come.
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